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Two Cars One Night — Taika Waititi, 2003

While waiting for their parents, two boys and a girl meet in the carpark of a rural pub. What at first seems to be a relationship based on rivalry soon develops into a close friendship. We learn that love can be found in the most unlikely of places.

This edgy and sweet short film is one of the earliest works by Oscar-winner Taika Waititi and is peppered with his signature comedy.

Classroom Activities

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Critical

  • How does Taika Waititi show the passing of time? Give examples of techniques used by the filmmaker.
  • Why do you think the film was shot in black and white? What effect does this have on the audience?
  • Why has Polly’s dad been framed that way? Why is his face not shown?
  • How are Ed and Romeo portrayed differently in the film?
  • Based on the film’s ending, do you think Romeo and Polly will ever see each other again? Give reasons for your answer.

Cultural

  • The film also deals with what children do when they are bored, they role-play, play games etc. What games or activities did you do while growing up to pass the time? Do these activities only occur where you are from? How do they differ from other areas?
  • Which character do you most relate to in the film? Why?
  • Do you think it was responsible for the parents to leave their kids alone in the cars for so long? Are kids given enough responsibility for their lives in general? Discuss.
  • What other stories does this one remind you of? List the similarities and differences for each one.

Creative

WRITE

  • Write a letter to your past self, explaining how your life has changed over the years. Are you close to achieving your goals and dreams you set while you were younger? What would you want to say to your past self?
  • Write a letter to your future self, tell them your goals, dreams and aspirations. Tell them how you want the world to be in the future. How would you like to be in the future?
  • Write a short story about a happy experience when you were younger. Try to describe your feelings and try to use your senses when describing the locations etc. How did this experience affect you?
  • Using the film as the starting point of story, write what you think happens next? Are they reunited? How do are characters’ futures play out?

DRAW

  • You have been commissioned to create a poster advertising the film. You are to give the audience an idea of what the film is about and to include images/information that will make them want to watch it.

DRAMA

  • Using the same story of the film, this time change the location. Set the story where you live. In your script, try to use dialogue that you would use. Think about how the story might be different.
  • The film is essentially a “meet-cute” commonly used in many romantic comedies. Research what this term means and try to role-play or even act out a scene about how this could be played out.

RESEARCH

  • Taika Waititi incorporates his Maori heritage in hie projects. The psychological anthropologist Alan Fiske calls this film “warm, fuzzy feeling ‘kama muta’ - What does this Maori phrase mean? How is it shown in the film?
  • Research more about the Maori culture – its history, how it appears today?
  • Research how Waititi incorporates his Maori culture into his other works of film.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-002-000-041-C
Resource Rights Holder The New Zealand Film Commission
Project Ref MVS-04
Year of Production 2003
Genre Drama
Curriculum Areas Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing, Literacy and English, Religious and Moral Education
Director Taika Waititi
Country of Origin New Zealand
Medium / Content Live Action, Fiction, Black & White, Sound
Themes Relationships, Culture / Society, Identity / Self, Intolerance / Misconceptions, Communication
Clip Length 13:00
Clip Length 13:00
Age Group S1-S3, S4-S6